Antiques Diva Office

I Give You My Antiques Diva Office!

My life has been a whirlwind these last few months at The Antiques Diva & Co. While traveling on an around the world ticket from Europe to Asia to the USA and finally back home to Berlin I’ve literally circled the globe building new relationships and strengthening connections as we launched brand new Antiques Diva Asia Tours, started development at the factory of the first product in our Antiques Care and Restoration product line, and premiered at High Point Market as the Brand Ambassador for Pandora de Balthazar among other things! I was on the road 3 months and traveled to 3 continents and in 9 countries.

From speaking engagements to private dinner parties to taking clients on antiques buying tours to dealing with day-to-day details running our own in-house shipping company – my life is made up of many aspects. I’m a business woman but my business either operates on the road in whatever hotel I’m staying in, whichever country I happen to be in, or it operates out of my home office.

I am a firm believer that one’s home – or home office – should reflect themselves, and after contemplating the experiences I have throughout the world, I looked at my home office in Berlin, and was not surprised to see the international mix of pieces from different time periods and styles. I thought it would be fun to share a bit of this eclectic mix here on the blog, so without further ado, I give you my Antiques Diva Office!

Antiques Diva Office
photo credit Susanne Ollmann

My French Louis XV desk with doré bronze mounts is a piece I purchased from the Paris Flea Market. I love the Diva-esque female figures that grace each corner. This is a POWER Desk – What makes this piece even more special is that it is signed and has the original makers mark. The 18th century Rococo desk chair is also a French piece, fit for a Commander in Chic! To hide files and clutter, I use an 18th-century Bavarian cupboard with a beautiful painted Romanesque scene on the front.

When it comes time to catch up on industry reading, I relax on the Rococo Style Napoleon III chaise lounge which I purchased in Bath, England. I had this piece recovered in a gorgeous fabric which I sourced through Linda Merrill. For artwork, I have a pair of 1960’s gold ceiling tiles which were salvaged from the ballroom of the Russian Embassy in Berlin, Germany. Accessories in my Diva Office change frequently, depending on where I’ve been and what little treasures I’ve picked up! As soon as my shipment from my recent buying tour in Asia comes in you’ll see some Asian Chic adding to the ambiance.

My Diva Office is a reminder that what makes a room—and a life— interesting is the mix. Old and new, refined and rustic, extravagant and simple, mastering the art of the mix adds depth and character—two qualities I hope I have both as a person as well as in my own home.

Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva®

Michaela Zimmer

Antiques Meet Modern

When asked whatToma Clark Haines displays original art by Michaela Zimmer in her Diva Headquarters home I personally collect – my answer is always first and foremost “People.” In my line of work, I am constantly meeting fascinating people from all over the world. While in Venice last year at Saloniste’s , I fell in love with both the artwork and personality of Michaela Zimmer! She is a remarkable artist who lives and works in Berlin, Germany, and whose work is exhibited around the world. People are often shocked to discover that as The Antiques Diva I’m obsessed with contemporary art. But as in love as well as decorating…  opposites attract. My personal decorating style is a juxtaposition of antiques meet modern.

I  am over the moon to have contemporary paintings by artist Michaela Zimmer in our Antiques Diva headquarters (which happens to be in my personal home).

Michaela Zimmer

A friend of mine refers to me as “his whirlwind.” Anyone who knows me, knows I am always on the move. And perhaps that’s what attracted me to Michaela’s work. It moves. It flows. It dances with light and motion. Michaela Zimmer rethinks the idea of the abstract painting. She filters the fundaments of abstraction through the syntax of performance. With a background in dance and photography, it’s no wonder movement is such an important part of her process— incorporating the idea of physical movement (dance) and the concept of a still moment frozen in time (photography). When she paints, she surrounds herself with canvases and literally dances as she creates her art. Looking at a series of her work, you can see the movement as it dances from canvas to canvas.

Relationship Between Antiques and Contemporary Art

When discussing the relationship between antiques and contemporary art, Michaela sees it as revolving around time and space. One look at her canvases shows that she places a focus on movement. She explains, “What is specific about these canvases, characterized by a virtually incorporeal, floating chromatic space, is the fourth dimension inscribed within them; time manifested as traces of the performative between the multi-stratified, fragmented layers.” It’s this movement that enters into a dialogue with antiques.

Interior Photography: Susanne Ollmann

all artwork courtesy of the artist and FOLD, London

Michaela Zimmer

Michaela Zimmer

Relative to movement, Michaela says, “It is interesting that the word ‘speed’ always evokes the notion of ‘fast speed’ first. Focusing on both, fast and slow motion, and situations where they blend into each other, has always been an aspect of my work. Mind you, even when a line appears to be ‘fast’, this might have resulted from a slow movement which accelerated from a certain intensity that wasn’t fast at all.”

Antiques often reveal traces of the human hand which played a part in creating them, and the sculptural element of Michaela Zimmer’s paintings reflect that as well. Details get blurred and stay hidden behind semi-transparent PE film. The dichotomy of abstraction and corporeality disappears in the merging of image and object – illusionary space and material. Combining contemporary paintings with an antique environment is combining both visual experiences.

Michaela Zimmer

Michaela Zimmer

Combining Contemporary Paintings with an Antique Environment

There are different approaches in Michaela Zimmer’s paintings. The lines that originate from a concentrated single movement are mostly applied to white canvas that is only primed. They take a long time in their (mainly physical) preparation, but are then executed quickly. Even with the best preparation, a lot of them end up unresolved and get destroyed, since they can’t be corrected.” The process of creating a work can take quite some time. The paintings are based on numerous layers of paint, which are applied and then often taken away, again and again. This process is time-consuming and very difficult to control since the aim is not a spectacular composition, but a rather quiet one that unfolds only slowly. As Michaela explains, “A similar ‘gradualness in the investigation process’ is also required from the viewer, if he or she is to be rewarded.”

Toma Clark Haines displays original art by Michaela Zimmer in her Diva Headquarters home

In my own home, it’s time that forms the interaction with other objects around the paintings in the room. The present meets the past in my home in Berlin – the historic building is a brewery dating from the early 1800’s – that has been converted into modern loft space for working and living. Michaela’s contemporary art visually bring the space to the 21st century but the 19th C building is grounded with 18th Century antiques.

While I was delighted to share with you a glimpse into my own home office so you could see how art interacts in private spaces – I want also to tell you about an opportunity to visit a gallery in England for a special Exhibition of Michaela’s work.

Perpetual Movement 

exhibition 29 October 2016 till 26 February 2017

Curated by The Lowry in collaboration with Rambert, the exhibition will feature work by four international artists and explore the synergies between contemporary visual art and dance. Artists featuring in Perpetual Movement include Turner Prize nominee, Goshka Macuga, Leila Johnston and Michaela Zimmer, and the exhibition will feature specially commissioned works alongside key pieces from Rambert’s archive that inspired them.

Twitter @The_Lowry
The Lowry | Pier 8 | Salford Quays | Salford | M50 3AZ

Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva®